Building your home electronic workshop?

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by ekrim, Aug 17, 2008.

  1. ekrim

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jul 28, 2008
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    Does anyone have any suggestions on how a starting electronics hobbyist should build up a supply of components? Are there any companies that offer an affordable assortment of parts? Radioshack is expensive and limited and I'm not sure exactly what I'll need, so places like Digikey are hard to shop from.

    Thanks
     
  2. beenthere

    Retired Moderator

    Apr 20, 2004
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    That is a hard one to answer, as so much depends on your area of interest. Not to mention physical dexterity to be able to use SMD devices instead of through hole components.

    I guess it's possible to stock up on parts ahead of time, but I suspect most parts collections are partly preplanned and partly leftovers from past projects. Too bad the days of raiding dead tv chassis for good components with long leads are long gone.

    Unless you already have them, put your money into tools. Get the parts as you need them. Mouser is a good source, as there is no minimum purchase.

    Look around construction sites to see if you can find discarded ends of telco cables. The wire is solid, but can be incredibly useful. Can't tell you how great it was when I found a 15' section of a large multiple pair cable sticking up out of a mud puddle. That lasted for years.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2008
  3. ekrim

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jul 28, 2008
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    Thanks for the answer. I bought the tools which were recommended in the experiments section of the tutorial. I just hate waiting to undertake a project as the parts arrive and wondered if I was doing it wrong. My interests are mostly audio and scientific instrumentation.
     
  4. kammenos

    Active Member

    Aug 3, 2008
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  5. nazree

    Member

    Jun 23, 2008
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    Which country are you from? If UK, you can go to Maplin. There are also several other companies like RS and Farnell. :)
     
  6. Torben

    New Member

    Mar 15, 2008
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    Also, if you're in a country serviced by DigiKey, they have a lot of components. I went to the their website for my county (Canada) and registered, and received a full printed catalog in the mail a few days later.

    Their shipping rates are good.


    Torben
     
  7. nazree

    Member

    Jun 23, 2008
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    DigiKey is also helpful. They have their own website.
     
  8. jpanhalt

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 18, 2008
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    Jameco has some useful component kits. John
     
  9. dogstail

    Member

    May 8, 2008
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    What would be useful on this site is knowing which country memebers are from this would help in purchasing or obtaining hardware as in this thread.
     
  10. nazree

    Member

    Jun 23, 2008
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    Yes, agreed. If you prefer to go yourself to the shop or companies, we can recommend good companies but it depends on which country are you from.

    There are also lots of electronic websites available on the net.
     
  11. kammenos

    Active Member

    Aug 3, 2008
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    I beleive http://www.futurlec.com/index.shtml is cheapest than jameco and digikey and many others. Very good deal also with transportation costs. I buy electronics only from them. I suggest them
     
  12. ekrim

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jul 28, 2008
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    Thanks everyone, I'm in the southeast US
     
  13. Dave

    Retired Moderator

    Nov 17, 2003
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    This is what I did with RS, now they send me a new catalogue each time one comes out (usually October each year).

    Dave
     
  14. SgtWookie

    Expert

    Jul 17, 2007
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    It pays to be a good shopper. You might find a lowest per-unit cost on an item at a particular vendor, their shipping and minimum buy policies can quickly eclipse any savings that otherwise might be realized.

    Having a decent assortment of resistors available is a rather basic necessity, if you're going to be doing much with linear circuits (opamps, transistors, linear power supplies etc.)

    Having a few 555 and 556 timers handy can make your life easier.

    CMOS 4093 IC's can be quite handy, too. They're quad NAND gates with Schmitt-trigger inputs. By combining NAND gates, you can duplicate the function of any other logic gate (inverter, AND, OR, NOR, XOR, XNOR) along with building simple oscillators/bistable multivibrators and gated versions of the same.

    Having some NPN and PNP transistors around is helpful, too. 2N2222 and 2N2907's are good for up to around 500mA. 2N3904/2N3906's are good for 100mA, but have higher gain than the 2N2222's/2N2907's.

    Interface IC's such as ULN2803/ULN2003's are very useful for connecting numerous moderate loads such as relays, lamps or small stepper motors to microcontrollers or other logic ICs.

    If you're planning on using logic ICs, you'll need a bunch of 0.1uF/100nF ceramic or tantalum bypass capacitors. Having a variety of caps on hand is almost as necessary as having a selection of resistors on hand.
     
  15. Dave

    Retired Moderator

    Nov 17, 2003
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    If I've read the OP correctly, what he is really wanting to know is if there are any generic kits available that give all these components in a simple package for a beginner.

    I looked through the RS catalogue, however couldn't find anything that gave an all-in-one kit. jpanhalt made the most direct suggestion for this over at Jameco.

    If there aren't any suitable AIO kits, then Wook has given a thorough breakdown of where to start with amassing a basic repository of components.

    Dave
     
  16. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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    RS has a pretty good starter kit of resistors. Capacitors too, for that matter. Dan's has some excellent deals on old transistors, I'm still living on the 2N2222's I bought from there.
     
  17. Dave

    Retired Moderator

    Nov 17, 2003
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    I checked the glossary in the catalogue and didn't see anything (that's not to say they don't exist). Got a catalogue number or URL for the OP Bill?

    Dave
     
  18. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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    Keywords "resistor" brought this up.

    http://www.radioshack.com/search/index.jsp?kwCatId=&kw=resistor&origkw=resistor&sr=1

    Keywords "resistor assortment" brought this up on the Radio Shack site.

    http://www.radioshack.com/search/index.jsp?kwCatId=&kw=resistor%20assortment&origkw=resistor%20assortment&sr=1

    I've seen capacitor packs on my last visit. They aren't as organized as the resistors, but will get you started.

    Dan's Small Parts and Kits is the ultimate salvage dealer. He has some odd policies (no online ordering), but worth the effort.

    http://www.danssmallpartsandkits.net/
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2008
  19. SgtWookie

    Expert

    Jul 17, 2007
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    The Electronic Goldmine has some interesting assortments and GoldPaks.
    http://www.goldmine-elec.com/
    They do have a $10.00 minimum + shipping.

    It's all too easy to go overboard and buy far too much stuff, particularly when you're starting out. It's much worse if you don't have a plan for keeping it organized.

    Throwing a whole bunch of miscellaneous parts into a big box is not an effective method of organization. You'll wind up with a big box (or many big boxes) full of stuff that's too good to throw away, but you can't use any of it because you can't find anything that you need at the moment, without spending many hours pawing through it all. So you waste a few hours looking for stuff, then get frustrated and say the heck with it, and order more stuff. Meanwhile, your closet and garage space rapidly diminishes.

    Resistors and capacitors will very quickly get out of hand if you let them. I use coin envelopes (available at stationery/office supply stores) and write the values near the top, and have them stored in ascending values. For electrolytic capacitors and inductors, I use sectioned-off translucent plastic boxes w/snap lids that are available in the fishing section and arts & crafts sections in department stores.

    For ICs, LEDs, hardware like switches, etc. I have several 36-bin and 50-bin organizers with clear plastic drawers (2" wide, 1.2" tall, 5" deep) that are all sub-sectioned off, 3 to 5 partitions per drawer. One 36-bin organizer is completely filled with TTL IC's, at least 4 variations in each drawer, and that collection is certainly not complete - however with the advances in inexpensive and powerful microcontrollers, it's not necessary to complete it.

    The tough part is cataloging everything, keeping the catalog up to date, and actually consulting your catalog of items prior to ordering things online.
     
  20. ritajones

    Member

    Aug 28, 2008
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    There sure are. More than I could ever imagine. I think that would be a good thing to add to this forum too though.
     
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